Monday, May 25, 2009


First, thanks to everyone who voted on what shoes I should get next. Looks like I'm getting a pair of Jet 7's. Should be interesting to see if I like them.

I leave tomorrow for Richmond, California until Friday. I'll be spending some quality time with the folks at Mountain Hardwear and Montrail taking a look at all the new stuff for Spring 2010. They always treat us with good food and drinks the whole time we're there so it should be a good time. They are all good people who like to have they have a nice little bouldering wall at headquarters that I'd love to play around on. We'll see.

These meetings are always a weird combo of seasons. The designers are presenting their Spring 2010 work to us, all the while they're working hard on Spring 2011 designs and prototypes. All of this happens during the Spring 2009 season. It always makes me smile a little.

This past Friday, Katie finished unpacking and we were officially moved in! Fantastic. What did we do on Saturday then?

More to come on Phase One of the homewall soon...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Catching Up

The house even came with a free sticker!

Katie and I signed a lease for a house a few weeks back and we're just finishing up the move. I hate moving. So much. It just sucks everything out of me and I don't want to do anything with anybody. We started the move on Saturday and will be completely done on Thursday.

We were upgraded to a 24 foot uhaul since they didn't have any of the 17's left. After filling up the bottom third of the U-Haul we took off for the new house. Pulling into the driveway I took out a nice chunk of pavement from the street with the truck's hitch. Apparently 24 foot long trucks don't like driveways on a hill. We unloaded everything and then promptly got the it stuck in our driveway, afraid that the street would yank the bumper clean off. Katie pulled through like a trooper and took over the reigns when I got too frustrated. Well done.

I'm glad that mess is done. Neither of us could believe how sore we were the next day. We moved the bunnies over last night and pretty much just have to clean the place now. I'm going to be so happy when we're out of there and are back to somewhat normal life.

The bunnies in their new stables

We'll be putting up part of the wall this Saturday hopefully. I am very excited. We've moved the toys out of the way and made room for the first section. I'm happy to be able to start climbing again...

Pads just waiting to be used...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pick My Kicks

So my pair of beloved V10's has pretty much kicked it and I've failed at replacing them adequately. So very sad. I'm in the market for a new pair of beat around shoes for the gym and warming up and such. I want something easy on and easy off and think I have it drilled down to two very different shoes. Right now I'm looking at the Jet7 and the Anasazi Velcro. Not sure which I want though.

I tried the Solutions and they just didn't seem to work that well. Hated the heel cup on them. Also tried the Cobra years back and while I liked them back then, I don't think I'd like them as much now. After blowing out the Scarpa Boosters last year I'm hesitant to pick up a pair of the Stix because I think they'll have the same issue.

I've tried the Jet7's a bit and they weren't my favorite but I think they were a size too big. They're on the same last as the V10's but felt bulkier. In the right size I might actually like them.

I had a pair of the old Anasazi Velcro's and liked them for what they were. Unfortunately they were a half size too big and I've always wondered if I'd like them more in the right size.

I'm curious what your thoughts are! There is a poll to the right. Tell me what shoes to get. If you don't want me to get one of those post a comment with which shoes I should get and maybe I'll add it to the poll.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Wedding Planning

With the date finally set, September 12, Katie and I took a day off yesterday to solidify a few things. Our reception is up at Devil's Lake so we ended up having to go up there to see how the numbers would work out. It ended up being a nice excuse to climb for a little bit at the end of the day! Wonderful how that always seems to work out, huh?

We went over to the fire road and made our way to the 45 degree boulder. I'd been wanting to get Katie on these problems for a while now and it was a perfect day for it. My skin was still pretty trashed from Sandstone Violence and I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to climb. I always forget how friendly Quartzite can be to the skin.

In pretty short order we both did the center line and worked out the moves on the right hand line. We finished that thing, one after another, and moved on to the left hand line. In a matter of tries we did that as well. It was really really nice to just go out and do some moderate problems in an afternoon. All of the problems are super fun and gymnastic. Very unique for the Lake.

We've been more focused on projects this spring and I'd really forgotten how much fun it is to circuit stuff. We had one of our better days this spring and Katie kept on remarking on how much fun it was.

After that we went down to Alpine Club and I gave it a bunch of goes. The start move feels way better than it ever has and I felt closer on the second move. I think I'm going to have to go about this one differently though. Normally I just siege a boulder until it lets up and I do it. I really just have to get stronger this time. This is a huge goal for me and I've wanted to do this boulder since the day I saw it.

We didn't take that many pictures yesterday due to all the climbing. Kinda nice. We did see a couple of pretty cool birds though.

A very cool Woodpecker

And a bunch of Vultures, I believe

I always get so excited when I start climbing at Devils Lake again and I tend to forget how much fun the climbing there is. I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Governor Dodge at Night

Not wanting to spend another night in the gym Katie, RV and I drove out to Governor Dodge last night after work. We arrived around 7 or so and went up to Hangman and Highly Executed. Low motivation and humid conditions dominated at first. We all played around but didn't really commit or try hard. I know Katie and I are pretty burned out on both of those problems and we really just don't care about them anymore.

After a bit of prodding and poking Katie convinced us to get back on Sandstone Violence.

Everyone has personal epics and demons that they try to avoid. Sandstone Violence is that for me, it's an epic and I'm so intimidated by it it's not even funny. I know I can do the moves but I avoid trying them at all costs. Sandstone Violence is maybe my biggest climbing failure ever and I hate it.

I've got a history with this problem that's kind of hard to put into words. It's the only project of mine that has actively fought back and it came within two inches of doing some VERY serious damage to my head.

I've done harder climbs and I've done scarier climbs. I'm not sure what it is about Sandstone Violence that just sort of wigs me out, but it totally messes with me.

I'm glad that Katie made us get on it. I didn't send the stupid thing but I got closer than I've been in almost three years. It was a good feeling again and reminded me how much fun the moves can be. RV got a new highpoint on his first go and looked as solid as you could on every go after that.

I ended the night by getting my right hand on the last right hand crimp before the jump. Right where I ended my attempts in 2006. Right before that stupid block smoked me in the shoulder. It felt good, really good, and now I actually want to get on it again. It's nice to feel that again. It's been too long old friend.

So many times I say that it'll go down next trip, and so many times I'm just so wrong. I can honestly say with this problem that I have no clue at all if/when I will eventually do it. I hope it'll be soon though.

Here are a couple of pictures from the night.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Home Wall Ideas

Katie and I are moving in a couple weeks and we're going to be putting the homewall back up. Right now it looks like we're planning on having an 8 foot wide 45 and possibly one other angle. We'll see how much space we have. Anyone have any ideas out there? I'd love to hear them.

Our last homewall was steep. Almost too steep. End to end the wall was 17 feet long, including the kicker, and maybe 7 feet tall. One 4 foot section of 45 and three 4 foot sections of maybe 70 degrees overhung. Very steep.

Our local gym doesn't have A/C so we're excited about having a small wall at home to play around on. Should be good. I'm VERY excited to move.

Also, our gym uses mainly clay holds. What are everyone's favorite plastic brands? I have my own ideas and there are a couple that stick out in my mind, but I'm curious what everyone else uses.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

West Bluff Update

I got a call from Nic a few minutes ago and he just polished off both Alpine Club and Beautiful Soup! Nice work man! Sounds like he took a pretty brutal fall off of the last moves of Beautiful Soup and cratered into the talus.

I'm not sure how many ascents Beautiful Soup has but this would be Alpine Club's 4th or 5th ascent maybe. Glad that I had a chance to show him around the lake a little. I'm also very glad that there seems to be some interest growing in the bouldering at DL again. Nice to see.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A day on the West Bluff

It's been a while since I've been to the West Bluff at Devil's Lake. A couple years actually so I was pretty excited to make a day trip back up there yesteray. I drove up with Remo to meet with Nic from Five Ten and Brian(see his write up here). Nic and I had been trying to make plans for the last 6 months or so to try and get up to some of the harder lines at the lake. Finally things came together and we all met at the Ski Hi Apple Orchard.

Nic pulled up in style with the Five Ten van and Remo and I grabbed some shoes to try out. We all piled into the Honda Fit's and made our way over to Alpine Club(V9) and Beautiful Soup(V8/9).

Both of these problems are local test-pieces and I was beyond psyched to get a couple of people on them. The last time that Alpine Club was climbed was more than likely back in 2004 and I'm guessing the same thing for Beautiful Soup. It's sad that these two classics don't get more traffic.

We started out on Alpine Club and Nic figured out the first move quickly with some great beta and looked insanely close on the second move. Each go was so close and after finding a different hold he did the second move in isolation really quickly. We all figured that it'd go down next go but it never seemed to click. I'm not sure how much closer he could have gotten without sending.
Nic on one of his many close calls on Alpine Club

Remo having to actually work for it

Remo made good progress and stuck the first move quickly, as well. Thanks to Nic's beta I was able to stick the opening move for the first time and got closer than I thought I would on the second move. It felt like the "aura" of Alpine Club was unlocked a little bit yesterday. Everything feels much more doable than it ever has before and I'm really psyched on finishing it. For once it feels like it'll actually go down.

After Alpine Club we shuffled the pads up the hill to Beautiful Soup. This Eric Z. problem is very high quality and is a rare dynamic gem at Devil's Lake. The only downside might be the sharp crimp that gave both Nic and I a split tip. Oh well. It's a very worthwhile problem to spend some time on and a classic for the lake.
Remo setting up on the crimp for the big throw

Here's a nice sequence of Nic that can give you a better idea of the whole problem

All of us were able to hit the rail but no one could stick it long enough to kill the swing. Again Nic came absurdly close to finishing the problem but his skin just wasn't quite up to it. It would have been nice if it had been about 10-15 degrees cooler.

After that we went up to the 45 degree boulder for a quick run on the two prominent problems in the upper west bluff talus fields. The problems are steep, fun and short. It made for a nice end of the day and both Remo and Nic made quick work of the problems.

I still feel really strongly that more people need to get on these problems. There was a lot of talk comparing the lake to Dodge and consensus is that the true hard lines are all waiting at the lake. Hopefully I can provide a little more info about these in the coming months.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Katie, bag of cereal in hand, sprinting towards the car

Spring has apparently come and gone here and Madison went from 40 degrees and perfect to 65 and humid within a week. Unless we get a cold snap it looks like spring is shifting into summer already. Sad, to say the least.

We had another good day at Governor Dodge but it was much more relaxed this time around. Katie and I putzed around on our respective projects while Justin and RV both dispatched Hangman with relative ease.
Justin working on the first crux of Highly Executed

RV floating the crux moves on Hangman

RV matching the finish hold on the Governor Dodge classic, Hangman

RV topping out with the new pads beneath him

It was our first time back at Group Camp B in about a month or so and there were maybe 20-25 people up there this time. It's in stark contrast to a couple years ago when it was rare to see anyone at all up there. I keep on wondering if traffic up there is going to ever move back to Devil's Lake. I'm actually not sure it will. Lack of friction and some very unfriendly landing make it a tough proposition. Couple that with some very sandbagged ratings and you've got an area that will definitely crush your ego a bit.

After a couple of hours at Camp B we decided to head over to the Illusions of Paradise roof. I'd looked at it once before and Katie wanted to work the roof, as well as something to the right of it. Unfortunately the bulge to the right was less than inspiring and very "Dodge". We all put in some work on IOP and RV made really good progress on it at the end of the day.
Rv, reaching for the first move on one of his better links on Illusions of Paradise

I personally continued along my quest of falling off of the last move of as many things as possible in one season. It's going well. Really, it is. I was able to figure out the all the moves on Illusions of Paradise and got absurdly close to finishing it. Ah well. Another one that'll have to wait till next time.

We had a chance to use our new pads and I'm very happy with them. Seriously one of the best designs out there and Josh was as easy to work with as I could have hoped. Couldn't be any happier with them. I'll have a full review once I get some more use in. Katie's lightning bolt pad is perhaps the coolest thing ever.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Foam!!!!!!!!!

Can't even really describe how happy I am with the new pads we got. Josh at Organic went so much further than he had to and it shows with the product. I won't go into too much detail right now but this is the happiest I've been with any one company in a long, long time.

So much more than we expected. Very very pleased right now. It was time for an upgrade and we couldn't have done better. I will say, I'm jealous of Katie's lighting bolt. She's gonna climb so fast!!!